Students must write a research paper–using both primary and secondary sources–that answers the following question: One of the major debates among historians concerning the Atlantic Slave Trade focuses on the issue of why Europeans enslaved Africans between the mid 1500’s to the early 19th century. Was the motive for Europeans purely economic as historian Eric Williams argued in Capitalism and Slavery or was the motive based more on cultural or ideological reasons (racism)? In the 1950s and 1960s, historians Carl Degler and Winthrop Jordan both supported the contention that racism, and not economics, was at the root cause of the slave trade. More recently, in The Rise of African Slavery in America (2000), David Eltis posited that Europeans did not enslave other Europeans (that would have been cheaper and easier) because of an underlying commitment to individual rights. He further argues that Africans were seen as sufficiently different; they were the “Other”—both physically and culturally—and thus their enslavement could be rationalized.
Simply put, was European motivation for the slave trade more about profits or racism? Or is there some other explanation? Make sure you have a thesis (a general argument) and provide examples and details from your sources to support your answer (please refer to the rubric on Canvas). The length of the paper should be 5-6 pages (approximately 1500-1700 words not including citations). The paper must be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font and double-spaced. For background information refer to Chapter 3 and 12 in Henretta(A Concise History, Volume 1: To 1877. (6th Edition) by James Henretta and David Brody (Bedford/ St. Martins) ISBN 9781457648656 ). You must provide at least 4 outside sources besides the Equiano (The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African ISBN 1528785975) narrative and Henretta, one of which must be a primary source. All sources must be correctly cited using the Chicago Manual of Style. You must also provide a separate Bibliography at the end of your paper. You should refer to www.dianahacker.com/student.html . The Chicago style is clearly explained and a model paper (with correct citations and bibliography) is provided as well.
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